The National Assembly has approved the report of the Rules Committee that recommends that an Ad Hoc Committee under the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises be established to oversee the role of Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
The Rules Committee met last week Tuesday to consider how to improve Parliamentary oversight of the electricity department. It had to seek the final approval of the Assembly.
The African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude explains why it is unnecessary to have a separate committee to oversee the electricity department.
“The Rules Committee has agreed that the Ministry of Electricity should fall within the remits of the Portfolio of Public Enterprises. This is because the committee already possesses considerable expertise and experience in the sector. Parliamentary scrutiny can certainly contribute to end load shedding,” adds Dlakude.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) objected to the adoption of the report. The party says the current committee is already overburdened with State-Owned Entities.
The EFF MP Suzan Thembekwayo says, “The EFF rejects the decision of the (rules) Committee not to have a committee for oversight over Electricity. Instead, it will fall under the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise. Given the fact that the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise is already overwhelmed with the task of overseeing struggling entities, this decision appears misguided. Furthermore, the Minster who is expected to be accountable to the committee does not take it seriously.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Annelie Lotriet says they wanted a separate portfolio committee to be established instead of allocating the ad hoc committee to the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.
“Now that could be a bit more of a step in the right direction, but chairperson the reality in our country is that the single most biggest problem we have to face cuts through our everyday lives and everyday fact is electricity or the absolute lack thereof. This is one portfolio that we need oversight, that we need accountability. Well, just to give you an idea chairperson, today it is said that load shedding is going to have a new record in mid-October. The country would have been without power for double the amount of time as in the whole of 2022. So we are not going anywhere.”
IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa says the establishment of the Electricity Ministry is a temporary measure. He says it should not have been established in the first place.
“Instead, of course, we do understand that at the same time, we are opposed to the establishment of the bloated extension of government, particularly the Presidency. So, maybe there is sense in the fact that place it somewhere temporarily because it is a temporary intervention. It is for these reasons that we believe that the assignment of a new Portfolio Committee would have been irrational who has the assignment of a new department and might even be counterproductive as this could potentially pose a delay to the real work ahead of the Electricity portfolio if there is any work.”
FF-Plus MP Wouter Wessels has rejected the notion that creating a new Electricity Portfolio Committee is not possible due to budget constraints.
“But at the end of the day, I do agree with the IFP that this is temporary because the solution is not in a new Ministry. The solution is to get rid of the ANC government. That is the only solution to the Electricity crisis. If you say chairperson, that there is a budget shortage and that is the reason that we can’t create other portfolio committees and that they should rather account to a portfolio committee that is already overburdened, then the solution is also easy honourable Chief Whip. Cut the catering that people eat here and do oversight in the interest of the people. That’s where the money is. There is no shortage of budget.”
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